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In many countries around the world, there has been an increase in immigration of speakers of languages that are not spoken in their host country. This has placed tremendous pressure on both healthcare professionals and patients who in many situations need to be able to communicate effectively to ensure no misunderstandings take place. In the United States alone the number of speakers of a language that’s not English has increased markedly over the last 20 years to about 47 million people.  

Cheap translation services are often selected but at a cost

If a hospital or medical centre needs to get important documents translated into the languages that their patients predominantly speak, there are always many translation companies to choose from when searching for translators to do the job. As a result, the tendency is to choose a company that offers the best quote. There’s no doubt that even though pricing should be considered when selecting a translation company but cheap translation services don’t always deliver the best quality translations.

If the quality of a translation is poor those patients with limited English statistically end up :

● being readmitted to the hospital more often
● stay longer in the medical facility
● suffer from an adverse medical event while in the medical facility.

However, if the quality of a translation is good and access to interpreters is straightforward this offers patients:

● more access to appropriate medical care
● improved quality of care and health outcomes
● increase in patient satisfaction.

Determining translation quality

Translation services in the first place should be available 24/7 for those who need them. This means when your healthcare unit is in need of interpreters or translators frequently,  the translation services you select should have suitable translators and interpreters on hand 24/7. If you can’t get hold of a translator or interpreter when you need one patient care is going to suffer and there may even be a life/death situation potentially emerging if favourable communication is denied.

It’s only the best translation services but not necessarily cheap translation services that have available suitable medical interpreters and translators in the languages commonly in demand by the healthcare sector. It’s important to assess the quality of these providers by insisting they provide examples of translations they have done. Also, testimonials from clients in the medical care sector vouching for the quality of translations is important before you make your choice.

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